Writing life

Graeme Simsion

On where, when and how he wrote his hilarious Don Tillman novels, The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect


Hatching plans

I don’t have a routine. I used to be a freelance consultant and had to fit my writing around my day job’s shifting demands. Now I fit it around book tours, festivals and signings. And, much of the time, I’m not actually writing: I’m planning, thinking, problem-solving. On planes, in hotels, walking. 

That said, my favourite place for writing is a shack we own an hour’s drive from Melbourne. My wife, Anne Buist, and I spend most weekends there when we’re not out of the country. She’s also a published writer. A writing day there might look like this:

Wake, revive the fire, fire up the espresso machine. Tea first –herbal for me. Jog. Shower and breakfast. The healthy stuff ends there. Coffee.

Coffee and bad piano

Write from about 9am ‘til 5pm with interruptions for lunch and to load up the slow cooker for dinner. I’m the cook. More coffee. Occasionally Anne will use me as a human thesaurus and I’ll run a scene past her. But mainly it’s the two of us sitting in armchairs in the same room, with our laptops, typing away. 

5pm: cocktails, probably margaritas. I sear a tuna steak on the barbecue and make guacamole. We talk about what we’ve done, what problems we’re having. No TV. We open a bottle of wine, still talking about writing, but less productively, and have dinner. We talk about other things: maybe planning our next walk. We read. I may play some bad piano, I load up the fire, and that’s the day done. 

By the author

The Rosie Project

Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a story about love, life and lobster every Tuesday...

'Marvellous' John Boyne

'Original, clever and perfectly written' Jill Mansell

'Adorable' Marian Keyes

'An upbeat, quirky, impertinent gem of a read' Chris Cleave

'I'm not good at understanding what other people want.'
'Tell me something I don't know . . .'

Love isn't an exact science - but no one told Don Tillman. A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don's never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie - 'the world's most incompatible woman' - throwing Don's safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he's feeling?

'Don Tillman is one of the most endearing, charming and fascinating literary characters I have met in a long time' The Times

'Hilarious, unlikely and heartbreaking' Easy Living

'Touching and laugh-out-loud funny - think The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time meets Silver Linings Playbook' Stylist

'Funny, endearing, and pure, wonderful escapism' Independent

'A sweet, funny rom-com . . . You'll be willing Don and Rosie on every step of the way' Marie Claire
'Original, charming and very funny' Woman & Home

'A comic triumph: clever, humane and tears-in-your-eyes funny. But best of all, The Rosie Project is a madly romantic love story' Liz Jensen, author of The Rapture

'I couldn't put this book down. It's one of the most quirky and endearing romances I've ever read. I laughed the whole way through. And now I want to meet Don' Sophie Kinsella

With the charm of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the romance of David Nicholls' One Day, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is both funny and endearing - and is set to become the paperback of 2014.

Graeme Simsion is a full-time writer. Previously an IT consultant and educator, he wrote his first book in 1994 (the standard reference on data modelling, now entering its fourth edition), and is married to Anne, a professor of psychiatry who writes erotic fiction. They have two children.

The Rosie Effect

Graeme Simsion

Forty-one-year-old geneticist Don Tillman had never had a second date before he met Rosie.

Now, living in New York City, they have survived ten months and ten days of marriage, even if Don has had to sacrifice standardized meals and embrace unscheduled sex.

But then Rosie drops the mother of all bombshells. And Don must prepare for the biggest challenge of his previously ordered life - while dodging deportation, prosecution and professional disgrace.

Is Don Tillman ready to become the man he always dreamed of being? Or will he revert to his old ways and risk losing Rosie for ever?

Find out more about the author

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